81-year-old Thai King Hospitalized for Fourth Day

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Thailand's 81-year-old king, the world's longest-serving monarch, remained hospitalized Tuesday for a fourth day with what the palace described as a lack of appetite and a low fever.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej was admitted to a Bangkok hospital on Saturday with a fever, fatigue and loss of appetite.

A statement late Monday from the Royal Household Bureau, read on evening news broadcasts, said the king's fever was "lower" but he "can eat very little" and remained on a glucose drip.

Doctors were treating the king with antibiotics, the statement said.

In October 2007, Bhumibol was hospitalized for three weeks with symptoms of a minor stroke. Last year, he was unable to make his traditional birthday speech due to what his daughter, Princess Sirindhorn, described as an inflammation of the esophagus.

The king's health is an extremely sensitive topic in Thailand because of concerns about his succession. His son, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, does not yet have the stature or moral authority of his father.

The king is revered by most Thais, but in recent years the palace has come in for unprecedented, though usually discreet, criticism because of allegations that the king's advisers interfered in politics, including playing a part in inspiring a 2006 military coup that ousted a democratically elected government.

Open discussion of the matter is barred by strict lese majeste laws that make criticism of the monarchy punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

It had been rumored since late last week that the king had visited the hospital, but the Thai press only reported the matter widely on Sunday.

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